Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center.

Cox Center Joined Romanian, French Universities For Conference on Identity and Intercultural Communication

For almost two centuries, the legitimacy of the occupation of a journalist has depended on the printing and distribution of the journalistsí products via mass media.

Now, the new technologies have changed this situation and are challenging the status of professional journalists.

That is the opinion of Drs. Lee B. Becker and Tudor Vlad, director and associate director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia.

They made these remarks during a two-day international conference organized by the Cox International Center in collaboration with the Center for Research in Communication at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest and with the Institut de la Communication at Universite Lyon2.

The conference also was supported by the Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission.

Drs. Becker and Vlad made their comments in the panel on The New Technologies and the Identity of Professional Communicators, which was attended by 25 scholars from Romania, France and the United States.

Dr. Becker said that the field of journalism and mass communication education in the U.S. has tried in recent years to adjust its curricula to reflect the changes in the industry. He based this conclusion on findings of the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Enrollments, which is conducted in the Cox Center.

Although journalism and mass communication programs have made changes, he said, they still struggle to anticipate what type of jobs will be available for the graduates of such programs in the future.

In recent years, journalism and mass communication graduates have been successful in finding jobs in part because they see the communication industries in a broader way and are willing to adapt to a variety of job requirements, Dr. Vlad said.

The field of journalism expanded over the years to include instruction in public relations and advertising as a means of increasing enrollments, Dr. Becker said. Not only were these programs popular with students generally, he said, but they were particularly popular with female students, who have been coming to the university in increased numbers in the last 30 years.

Dr. Hans-Jorg Trenz of the Center for European Studies, Norway, and Dr. Jean-Claude Soulages, professor at Universite Lyon2, France, gave the two keynote addresses of the conference. Dr. Trenz discussed the European public sphere and the European collective identity, while Dr. Soulages summarized his research on the image of Europe in French newscasts in the last 25 years.

The two-day conference was held Sept. 26 and 27 at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest.

Sixty participants from Bosnia, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Norway, Poland, Romania and the United States attended the conference.

Next year, the conference, organized by the same institutions, will be held in Lyon, France.